Seems like salt-and-caramel has become what chipotle was five years ago, a newly-hyped taste sensation every food company has to capitalize on. Blue Bell is a little late to this game, as just about every other major ice cream company has released a flavor with this theme. But better late than never! Blue Bell says that Sea Salt Caramel is a creamy vanilla ice cream surrounded by a tasty salted caramel sauce swirl. Hmm. No mention of mix-ins, which doesn't sound promising. Then again, Blue Bell does do vanilla and swirl sauces pretty well, so I'm game to dig in anyway.
Sea salt caramel has three good things going for it: The vanilla base, the caramel, and the sea salt. The vanilla is Blue Bell's best base, a pure creamy classic vanilla flavor. The caramel ribbon is generously supplied top to bottom, and the flavor is real caramel, not a butter-scotchy substitute of the kind another reviewer described about a recent Ben and Jerry's offering. This stuff is thick and chewy! And the salt is deftly handled. It is pitched at just the right level of intensity, neither too overpowering nor too weak. The result is a smooth refreshing treat.
But, while the components do blend together nicely, the whole is not any greater than the sum of the parts. Unlike say Blue Bell's chocolate peanut butter flavor, where bite after bite the peanut butter slowly builds in your mouth until you feel like you are drowning in its pleasure, sea salt caramel is what it is, start to finish. And this means you do end up missing what is absent, namely a kicker of a mix-in that could provide that extra boost of flavor. So unless I decide I can't afford to eat more than 170 calories a serving, it will probably be a long time before I have this again. I'm glad I ate it, but once is enough.
Where Steve Found It: Walmart
Steve's Grade: B